Published on February 1st, 20140
Archaeology: Unexpected Discoveries at Egypt’s Giza Pyramids
The remains of a port and a barracks in which troops or sailors had lived there were discovered near the pyramids of Giza. According to scientists these constructions were used back when the pyramids were built, 4,500 years ago.
Archaeologists have excavated a town near the Giza pyramids dating from the time of Pharaoh Menkaure, who built the three pyramids of Giza. They also excavated a town near a monument dedicated to Queen Khentkawes, which is believed to be a daughter of Menkaure. The barracks is located in the city near the pyramids, while the new discovered basin that apparently was part of a port is located near the city’s monument near Khentkawes.
More discoveries in the town’s monument located near Khentkawes suggests that Giza was a thriving port, said archaeologist Mark Lehner. For example, researchers have found a basin near Khentkawes city, just one kilometer from the channel of the river Nile.
This basin would be “an extension of a port or a cliff”, said Lehner during a symposium organized by the Society for the Study of Antiquities in Egypt. Also, Lehner said that his team discovered at Giza the charred remains of pine, oak, juniper and cedar, all trees growing in the eastern Mediterranean called the Levant. Moreover, they also found here, more than 50 examples of pottery from the Levant. However, the specialist explained that at Giza they found large quantities of granite came from Aswan, located on the southern border of Ancient Egypt, which seems to have been transported on the Nile, up to this port.
“For three generations Giza was central port for Cheops, Chephren and Mykerinos”, said Lehner.
A military presence
Where there is a port, there are also sailors. In the city, scientists have found evidence that indicated that there were long buildings called “galleries” in which standing troops participating in voyages to the Levant and probably guarding important people when they were at Giza. These galleries had a height of about 7 meters and each set was at least 34 feet long.
Previously, archaeologists believe that these galleries housed workers who participated in the raising of the pyramids, but new findings cast doubt on this. Recent excavations have revealed that the galleries were remnants of burnt wood, mostly cedar, which was originally from the Levant.
“What was this cedar from the Levant doing in a common workers barracks?”, wondered Lehner. The galleries seem to have been populated by bands that are often represented in the tombs of important officials and temple pyramids. “We find representations of these troops everywhere”, he said explaining that their names could be translated into “escorts”. Each gallery in the party could comfortably accommodate 40 people.
Lehner ‘s suspicions regarding troops and galleries were held in 2012, when archaeologists discovered a broken hip of a hippopotamus. In Ancient Egypt, hippos cause problems because they where eating crops at night.
In fact, there is a whole ritual about capturing and binding and killing a hippo. This ritual may have been held in a public place at Giza probably port. After the ritual, the hippo’s meat was consumed by troops in galleries.
These troupes didn’t always have good food. Hippo meat was a good break from their daily food. Bones found by archaeologists in galleries, indicates that they also consumed goat and sheep meat and salmon. The troops didn’t get as much cattle or Nile perch, which were considered the more desirable forms of meat and fish.
And then where are those working at the pyramids?
Researchers do not exclude the possibility that they have sat in the pyramids, before they were completed. They say that there is evidence in pits near the pyramids that might suggest this. “In 2004 I helped an inspectors from Giza to gather materials from a huge hole in the north of the Great Pyramid. I found the remains of huts or other specific locations of housing, but I found old bones of cattle, pieces of cloth, rope, pieces of wood, part of a hammer and other specific tools used by workers”, explained Lehner.
Source: Live Science